Thursday, 24 April 2014

Prague Pride festival of sexual minorities starts

14 August 2012

Prague, Aug 13 (CTK) - The 2nd Prague Pride festival of sexual minorities, which started Monday and is to culminate with a pride parade in the centre of the city on Saturday, is expected to see even a higher number of participants than the first Prague Pride last year, the organisers said.

The festival and the planned pride parade has raised protests of conservatives who plan to take to the streets. The festival organisers say security measures have been taken to prevent any risks.

"Our goal is not to provoke. Our goal is to present the community of gays and lesbians to the public. There is not the slightest tinge of provocation in it. There are many prejudices that need to be removed," festival director Czeslaw Walek told CTK.

The festival offers both information and entertainment, he said.

Last year, the festival was visited by 25,000 people and 8000 joined the Pride Parade. The organisers have announced the same number of participants to the Prague City Hall this year, but Walek said he believes their number will be even higher.

"Special trains are to come from Brno, Ostrava (north Moravia) and Plzen (west Bohemia). People from all over the country are planning to go to Prague," Walek said.

The 2011 Prague Pride's goal was to show that the community of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals lives in the Czech Republic and is a part of Czech society. This years's festival aims at enhancing people's respect for otherness, he said.

The organisers plan to present the life of mainly some less visible groups such as homosexual Romanies, of transsexuals and disabled gays and lesbians.

One of the topics in focus is parenthood. It will be highlighted by an exhibition to start at the National Theatre's piazzetta on Tuesday. Photographs of male and female couples with kids will be on display.

The entry to most festival events, presented on, is free.

Conservatives from the D.O.S.T. group criticises the festival as obscene. It has addressed the City Hall and the embassies of the USA, Israel and the Netherlands, protesting against the Prague mayor's patronage of the festival and the support voiced to it by the three embassies.

The D.O.S.T. has also convoked a protest rally in Prague for Saturday.

Walek said the organisers cooperate with the police on ensuring security during the event. They have hired a security agency for this purpose, and volunteers are also expected to assist, Walek said.

The festival has been supported by ambassadors of 11 states, including Scandinavian countries, Britain, Canada, Ireland and the United States.

The ambassadors say the event is an opportunity to peacefully celebrate diversity and that it places emphasis on the need to push through human rights.

The full recognition of the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transsexuals (GLBT) is a challenge, the ambassadors said.

They said they join the participants in order to reject discrimination together with them and to express respect for the dignity of all people.

Activists as well as publicly known gays say the conditions of minorities are improving in the country but they are not equal.

They say the new civic code does not count at all with registered partnership even though the law on it took effect six years ago already.

Homosexual couples cannot adopt a child and homosexuals are not allowed to donate blood, they say.

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